MediaCommons is a digital born press with a digital humanities focus created by Avi Santo (our mentor through this process) and Kathleen Fitzpatrick. It is interested in new ways of writing, new types of scholarship, and new types of jobs that come out of being a born digital scholarly space.

We are also being called to rethink a scholarly press, not just to put print based articles into an online space.

Finally, Media Commons considers how the role of the scholar changes and his or her role in production.

MediaCommons is made up of several distinct smaller projects:

  1. In Media Res delivers short articles every day based on a theme week.
  2. The New Everyday posts processes articles, something between a blog post and a published article, with the hope of getting feedback from the community.
  3. Alt Ac is a space for those in the academy who are not tenured track professors.
  4. MediaCommons Press is a chance to post drafts of longer works  to solicit scholarly feedback from the community. It utilizes comment press so users can leave comments paragraph by paragraph

MediaCommons is in the process of drafting protocol and how members should act on the site. This summer a white paper was presented on the front page and open to peer review. This was an experiment in open peer review as well.

Six months ago the board decided that Media Commons needed a new home page and page editor. Avi Santo suggested that the front page find a home at ODU.

The new front page of MediaCommons has not yet launched, but will in the next few weeks. Our hope is to have a student led group of English, Communications, and Humanities graduate students that manages the content on the front page. This group will be headed up by Jamie Henthorn, a PhD student in English.

Plans for the site

Students will work together to come up with themes or ideas for the front page, something to unify the content of its different sections. Jamie will handle the majority of the actual editing of the site, but is looking for a diverse group that lends its own expertise to inclusion of site content. Those on the editing team will be asked to do some of the following:

  1. Bring in ideas to theme the site around for the month
  2. Curation: finding links/blogs/articles already on MediaCommons about our theme
  3. Aggregation: finding links/blogs/articles outside of MediaCommons to show how our work relates to others
  4. New Content: submit your own work on a particular topic or find scholars and/or other students to submit content.
  5. Help discern from proposals what will go on the front page.
  6. Look for ways to brand the site so that others know about ODU’s English, Communications, and Humanities Programs as well as Media Park, the lab we will be working in.
  7. Perhaps one or two people to learn how to edit the website in the event that Jamie cannot do it for unforeseen circumstances

How we will divide up this labor will depend on several factors. You might be rather invested in one topic but not another. Changes in your workload schedule are another consideration. This is something we can work out at the first meeting. We are taking into consideration that this is a volunteer based group.

Student benefits

Our hope is that students will be able to gain valuable experience and draw out significant skills during their work on the project. Some of what we hope students will be able to gain includes:

  1. Learning to edit an established academic press
  2. The power to make decisions about what gets published on the front page
  3. The chance to network with well known scholars in your field
  4. A space to publish your own scholarship
  5. The chance to really let others know about our programs here at ODU in a very tangible way, which will help all of us as we continue in our profession.


We decided that Wednesday nights was the best time to have meetings. Our first meeting will be Wednesday, Sept 12th at 7pm.